Thursday, February 9th, 2012135 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036
Although Jack Frost decided to take a vacation from New York this winter, it has still been chilly enough to want to curl up with a great bottle of red wine. Okay, let’s be honest, that desire is not limited to winter nor to just ‘a great’ bottle, but you get the idea. This month’s restaurant choice was about wine first, and remembering a past recommendation, we were set with seats in the bar at Aureole.
Aureole stands on 42nd Street in the shadow of Times Square, but one walk by the glass front suggests that this is no tourist trap. You will likely find the bar buzzing with a hip clientele sipping their cocktails and vino against the backdrop of an illuminated second-story wall of wine. The kitchen is currently run by Executive Chef Marcus Gleadow-Ware, but it is likely the name of Charlie Palmer that comes to mind first since this is his flagship establishment that began in a townhouse off of Madison Avenue. It is clearly his vision of progressive American cuisine and farm-over-factory food that has created the Aureole we know today.
Although we generally try to avoid restaurant week, we find ourselves waiting for our table to be ready. We make our way to the bar and feeling like two spelunkers finding gold, grab two bar seats just vacated by an older couple. We push their empty drinks away to make room for a delicious Manhattan and refreshing Left Hand Pilsner. The bar is beyond standing room only, but no matter, we sit back and take in the ambience until we here the delightful words, ‘Excuse me sir, your table is ready.’
We peruse the restaurant week menu and understand that for $35 it is practically a steal, but the chestnut pappardelle is calling our name: added to the menu the night before we cannot resist, one of us needs to order from the main menu. Okay, pair that with the ribeye and we have a meal for the stars. The restaurant week menu pairing of scallops to start with short ribs as the main is satisfactory, but we cannot get past how delicious the Vigilius wine is (expertly recommended by the sommelier) with the fresh chestnut pappardelle with beautiful trumpet mushrooms. It is winter in a bowl and as we eat we agree that it is perhaps the best pasta dish we have ever had. Enough said. We will be back.